Polaris Industries of Wyoming, MN opened their doors for local LC4YF youth to learn about the variety careers where they are looking for employees

    While Bonnie Tyler lamented the absence of good men, employers may be asking a similar question: Where have all the workers gone? The Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council found that the Twin Cities area “may face a workforce shortage of more than 62,000 by 2020.” These shortages will be seen in several sectors, including health care, government, finance, construction, and manufacturing, among others.

    So what is causing this workforce shortage? It comes as no surprise, but the baby-boomer generation retirements certainly play a part. However, the absence of teenage workers is present as well. Janis Petrini of Express Employment Professionals explained teens’ schooling, mismatched expectations, and competition from older workers are some reasons we’re seeing less young people in the workforce. Additionally, Petrini stated, “Young adults are in a time of exploration at this age and would like to gain experience working 20 to 30 hours; however, industries are seeking primarily full-time and beyond.”

    As a result of the baby-boomer retirees and absence of teens in the workforce, many people are seeking to address this problem through different initiatives and programming, which can be especially beneficial for teens, who are naturally curious. Workforce readiness programs provide young people the opportunity to use that curiosity to explore different options, without committing thousands of dollars and hours to majors, programs, and degrees that may not be what’s right for them.

    This fall, Lakes Center for Youth and Families (LC4YF) joins this mission and will start new programming called Launch. Within this program are several opportunities for youth to become career-ready. Offering a Professional Skills Class, job tours and interviews, job shadows, career-focused mentoring, and apprenticeships, LC4YF continues its mission to help guide successful futures, and in this case, successful workforce futures. Each of the opportunities within Launch will help students research and explore their interests as they pertain to the workforce so that they can head into necessary schooling feeling ready and confident in that particular field.madsen fixture millwork

    Kristyn Schlavin of Madsen Fixture & Millwork, a local Forest Lake business, is ready to be a part of workforce readiness programs and offer these opportunities to local youth. “We are fortunate to have truly loyal employees. However, when we do have a vacancy, it is near impossible to fill. We struggle to fill even an entry level position,” Schlavin reports. “By opening our doors to teens that may be interested in woodworking, or even those that may just be checking it out, we are excited to see the teenagers get excited themselves learning about different manufacturing careers.”

    Do you know a young person who could benefit from any of these opportunities? Are you an individual or business who might be interested in offering some of these opportunities to youth? Contact Jenna Jones, program manager, at 651-464-3685 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.